Most of the big department stores have done well this Christmas with the exception of Debenhams having issued lower than forecast sales over the festive period followed by the departure of chief financial officer, Simon Herrick.
John Lewis was up by 6.9% from the previous year on like for like sales, with a 60% increase in click and collect helping those figures. House of Fraser also reported strong sales.
Next are the big winners having issued outstanding profits on both their directory and in store sales. Resisting the pre Christmas discount route many other retailers took has paid off. Their profits for the first time have just overtaken M&S despite being half the size. It is predicting full year profits to be between £684m and £700m by the end of January with positive January discount sales continuing their success.
M&S hasn't done as well as expected on clothing sales having gone into discounting items before Christmas. Their profits are down on last year in clothing and household, however food sales remain strong.
Overall it has been better than expected trading during Christmas and retail spending has been good for most retailers for both online and in store sales.
Pound shops have done very well and large expansion plans are in place for many of the discount retailers and supermarkets.
Retailers that have done badly are having to implement further discounts as they go into the next two trading quarters to recover from slow Christmas sales. However Next shareholders will be very happy to learn that a surplus of £300 million in the business will mean Next will be issuing one off dividends of 50p, costing the business £75 million. They are being cautious with forecasts for the next year but overall it's looking like they will continue on the run of success and share prices have increased reflecting this.
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